Exercise and MS

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Exercise and MS

Postby scoobyjude » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:59 pm

New Hope For Multiple Sclerosis Patients

POSTED: 5:55 pm EDT August 29, 2006
UPDATED: 8:37 pm EDT August 29, 2006

RALEIGH, N.C. -- New research is breaking through old assumptions and helping people with Multiple Sclerosis.

More doctors are rethinking their approach to exercise for patients with Multiple Sclerosis, as a result of recent medical studies. It's a chronic nerve disease that damages parts of the brain and spinal cord and affects about 400,000 people, including men and women. Doctors say many MS patients are thermosensitive, which means heat or increased body temperature could cause their symptoms to get worse. So, for many years, some MS patients were told not to exercise.

"Many patients with Multiple Sclerosis over the years, have told us they were intolerant of heat and that they often got fatigued. So, the general recommendation for many years was don't push yourself, relax. Take it easy," said Dr. Mitchell Freedman.

Symptoms include facial numbness, muscle weakness, loss of coordination or balance, and fatigue. Recent studies suggest exercise, like chair aerobics, can help patients with multiple sclerosis regain balance and strength.

Doctors agree. So, they're pairing MS with physical therapists and fitness trainers.

"We realized that what the heat did, was it made it more difficult for patients to exercise, but being exposed to heat didn't make the disease worse," said Dr. Freedman.

Joanna Lee believes she's proof that exercise helps. Lee says her MS symptoms have improved, since joining exercise classes at WakeMed Healthworks center.

"I'm not tired. I feel like I'm more flexible. I still feel tight and stiff, but it's more flexible," said Lee.

"We kind of cover the entire body. We start from the top and go all the way down. We touch base on every single muscle group to help strengthen everything they have," said Elizabeth Penny, WakeMed physical therapist.

Penny is Lee's instructor and says beyond getting stronger, regular workouts can also boost the confidence of MS patients.

"By coming here, it gives them the support. They have one another to talk to, " said Penny.

"I can do the exercises at home by myself, but it's no fun. Two times a week, I come here and I see my friends and we talk and laugh," said Lee.

"The trick is to find an exercise program that's workable, that's doable," said Dr. Freedman. "One that your doctor recommends."
Copyright 2006 by Media General Communications, Inc.. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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exercise is great for ms!

Postby jimmylegs » Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:17 am

i agree and also i don't think all ms patients are heat sensitive, i think that's a blanket statement (no pun intended, for once) that would do more harm than good if a bunch of non-heat sensitive patients sat around doing nothing. i feel like i got better faster because i got out there and worked myself up to teaching skiing again even though i couldn't feel my body or lift ski poles! holy crap that sounds pretty darn crazy, what was i thinking? but i'm glad i did it!
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Postby Toyoterry » Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:34 am

I can't run anymore because of my balance problems and neuropathy in my feet but I am back to working out at a high intensity with my weights. I try to pair lifting with walks in the evening and most of the time this seems to be ok. Admittedly, there have been plenty of times when I didnt feel like doing either but when I can, it seems to help with my symptoms.
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Postby Loobie » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:20 pm

Endorphin release is awesome for an overall feeling of well being. I am still very mobile and thus I run every day, even when I'm not really up to it; ie, when sick, after working 12 hours. It has gotten (?) to the point where I can hardly have a good BM unless I exercise. It helps me feel better about myself, allows my digestive tract to work better and relieves stress like crazy. The downside? I'm going to really feel very bad if I am unable to run.

It's to the point with my running that if I'm complaining, whining, or being just a wanker in general, my wife will either go say "Go run!" or "Go smoke a joint". I usually opt for the run because the overall feeling of health last longer from exercise vs. MJ.
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Postby mrhodes40 » Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:32 pm

I'd like to add from the later stages of MS that exerciseis great for me too. I use a cane and have a drop foot on the right. that whle leg is kind of stiff and unmanageable. I work out 2-3 times a week at the gym. I can do a mile on the elipse in 20 minutes and this gets up a small sweat for me. I keep my cane close to the machine and am careful to use it after working out. I feel exercise at the gym specificlly is more important for me than it was in earlier years because unlike you more functional folks, I am at risk for falls so a nice walk around the block or something is out of the questoin, yet the elipse or the stair master or crossrobics all support my dropsy foot so that it is no longer an issue and the rest of me can get the exercise it needs exercise. I found a nice gym where I feel comfortable _ it is part of a physical therapy office (common in the US for them to have a gym too) and so I am not the only "neuro" in there.
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Postby robbie » Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:23 pm

staying strong seems like one way to fight ms head on, it trys to make you weak and lifting weights is one way to say oh no your not. i have a bowflex so i can sit and try to keep my arms strong, it is just so hard some times when you feel so shitty just moving seems hard. it is worth it if you can..
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